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QS Qualität und Sicherheit Certifications

QS

The QS certification mark: symbol for fresh food from good hands

  • QS certified products can be recognized by the QS certification mark. It signals the cross-stage compliance with the QS standards for the production and marketing of meat and meat products, fruit, vegetables and potatoes as well as assured processes and the quality of the products. Our aim is to confirm consumer confidence in fresh food every day.
  • AGFOCERT is accredited for QS Certification by IAS.

Fruit, vegetables, potatoes

Food retail

Incoming goods inspections ensure that only top quality QS produce reaches the stores. Correct labelling, optimal storage and handling of goods rank among the most important QS requirements. This includes also the compliance with cooling regulations. In addition, it must be guaranteed that high standards of cleanliness and hygiene are observed in all areas of the store and that specification regarding staff hygiene are implemented. Staff trainings on QS requirements take place regularly.

Wholesale

Incoming and outgoing goods inspections ensure that customers only receive flawless QS produce. To avoid contaminations, fruit and vegetables may not touch the ground or walls during storage. All requirements regarding cooling must be met and have to be checked regularly by means of temperature controls. High standards of cleanliness and hygiene must be observed. Samples of the goods are taken on a regular basis and are analysed for residues of plant protection products.

Fruit and vegetable producers

In the cultivation of fruit, vegetables and potatoes, planting materials, water quality, fertilization and the use of authorized plant protections products are monitored. During harvesting and transport of the produce, high hygiene standards must be observed. A high level of work safety for workers prevails in all areas. Regular residue analyses in laboratories are carried out in order to check that only authorised plant protection products are used in the required quantity.

The QS certification mark stands for certified quality assurance of fresh food – from farm to shop! Whether it is meat, meat products, fruit, vegetables or potatoes – food with the QS certification mark has an accurately documented and monitored lifecycle. Therefore, the way of a piece of meat from animal owner via abattoir and butcher, and for fruit and vegetables from producer via wholesaler, to the shop is clearly traceable.

QS. Quality scheme for food covers all stages of the food chain. Strict rules apply to all participating companies in Germany and abroad, for example regarding traceability and hygiene. Auditors and independent certification bodies check regularly whether all requirements are met.

QS requirements beyond the law

The requirements in the QS scheme can exceed the legal requirements. This applies particularly to processes that have a critical influence on food safety or animal welfare. Individual measures beyond the law are listed in this document.

However, it is important to note first of all that quality assurance based on one another - from farm to shop - is characteristic of QS. The binding product and process requirements apply to all scheme participants at home and abroad.

Ensuring process quality, independent controls, comprehensive monitoring, and consistent traceability...

... are the core elements of the QS scheme for safe food products founded in 2001.

The companies that have decided to participate in the QS scheme are audited at regular intervals. By signing the scheme contract, the participants undertake to observe the requirements defined in the QS scheme for production and marketing. At the same time, they submit to independent inspection by independent, accredited certification bodies (ISO/IEC 17065) and recognized, accredited laboratories (ISO/IEC 17025).

Process control in the QS scheme is supplemented by product controls in the scheme's own monitoring programs. In the meat and meat products supply chain, companies are obliged to participate in feed and salmonella monitoring as well as antibiotics monitoring. In the supply chain of fruit, vegetables and potatoes they participate in the QS residue monitoring.All scheme participants must ensure traceability at all times. The compilation of information on the purchase of goods must be guaranteed within four hours.

Avoidance of residues/non-approved substances

  • Producers, wholesalers, processors and food retailers are obliged to participate in residue monitoring. In accordance with a risk-oriented control plan, the products are tested for maximum residue levels, post-harvest treatment agents, growth regulators, pollutants and heavy metals as well as active substances exclusively permitted for cultivation.
  • QS goes beyond the legal requirements when evaluating non-approved active substances for the respective culture. If the active ingredient content is above a value of 0.015 mg/kg, the producer is blocked for the QS scheme for the corresponding product.
  • When pesticides are used, for example, compliance with the waiting period and documentation of the active substance or beneficial insect used are mandatory.
  • Following a complaint, the producers concerned have an obligation to obtain individual advice.

Prevention of microbiological contamination/hygiene

  • The use of organic fertilizers may only take place under consideration of specified requirements, e.g. specifications on permitted ingredients for fermentation substrates. For the use of manure of animal origin, there are special requirements for application and deadlines.
  • The use of water for irrigation and other water use before harvesting is only permitted after risk analysis and proven water quality (E.coli < 1000 kbE/100 ml).
  • The scheme participants in processing and the food retail must provide proof of annual training of employees in accordance with the Infection Protection Act (legislation: training only every two years).
  • Toilets for harvesters must be accessible on foot or by means of transport provided within a reasonable time. The number of toilets depends on the number of harvesters and the duration of the harvest work. Disposable towels are obligatory for drying hands.

Traceability

  • It is compulsory to indicate the identification number of the producer on the label or delivery note.

Soil requirements/fertilisation

  • For the purpose of risk minimization, information on previous crops, soil condition (soil analysis), use of plant protection products, fertilizers or the application of sewage sludge must be demonstrated for all areas for the purpose of risk minimization.
  • When growing fruit and vegetables under glass, the nitrogen fertilizer strategy must be explained.

Microbiological testing

  • Processed fruit and vegetables and potatoes must be checked for the following parameters:</li<
    • Fruit and vegetables: EHEC (VTEC, STEC), yeasts
    • Fruit: Enterobacteriaceae, coagulase-positive staphylococc

 

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